One official said Iran now has the lowest birth rate in the Middle East after experiencing the fastest decline in births in the past three decades.
Saleh Ghasemi, head of the Center for Strategic Population Research, told a local news agency that the current birth rate is 1.6 for every woman of childbearing age. He added that in the mid-1980s Iran had a birth rate of 6.5, one of the highest in the world, but it has been declining ever since.
Ghasemi estimates Iran’s population at over 85 million, although some believe that figure includes a few million Iranians who have left the country but are still counted as residents. He added that the population growth rate is currently 0.6%, but is expected to drop to zero over the next 10 to 15 years.
Iran’s declining population growth rate has been a hot political topic in the country, where its Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior officials in the religious political system have called for policies aimed at increasing the population.
Ghasemi said the biggest drop in births occurred between 2015-2020, when there were 550,000 fewer births per year. He went on to say that women born in the 1980s drop out of childbearing age. This, along with a change in people’s preferences and lifestyles, will continue to reduce births.